|Countdown to Camp: Quarterbacks||07.26.09 at 10:48 pm ET|
With training camp looming at the end of the month, WEEI.com will look at the 2009 Patriots in a daily position-by-position breakdown we’re calling “Countdown to Camp.” In today’s installment, we take a look at New England’s quarterbacks.
CURRENTLY ON THE ROSTER: Tom Brady, Kevin O’Connell, Matt Gutierrez, Brian Hoyer.
A LOOK BACK: Brady went down in Week 1 with a left knee injury, and Cassel stepped in to lead the Patriots to an 11-5 record. Cassel, who was dealt to Kansas City in the offseason, finished the season with a 63 percent completion rate, 3,693 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. In limited action, O’Connell was 4-for-6 for 23 yards, while Brady was 7-for-11 for 76 yards in almost two quarters of play. Gutierrez did not see any action in the regular season last year, while Hoyer threw for 2,404 yards and nine TDs as a senior at Michigan State.
A LOOK AHEAD: This year, it’s all about No. 12. This spring, Brady said he was “feeling really good” as he went through the organized team activities. He didn’t appear to be hamstrung in any way possible, going through every one of the same drills the other quarterbacks went through. Through most of the spring practices, there was the same zip on the football. And there was no discernible limp.
“I feel as good as I could possibly feel — I don’t think about it. It doesn’t bother me doing anything. It’s feeling really good and it’s about as good as I can say,” Brady said when asked about his knee. “I’m real happy with where I’m at.”
One person who might offer some unique insight into Brady’s rehab is Tom Martinez. Brady’s personal throwing guru, who currently lives in the Bay Area, said the New England quarterback will likely struggle out of the gate, but finish the year looking like the same old Brady. As a template, Martinez points to the rehab process that Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning went through last season after the Colts’ quarterback came off offseason surgery of his own.
“Do I anticipate Brady having trouble? Yes,” Martinez said. “Will he correct it? Yes.”
“I think if he was concerned and it showed early, I wouldn’t panic. The same thing happened with Peyton. He was holding back early last year, not attacking the throw and leaving a little off it. By the end of the season, he was back to where he needed to be.”
If the Patriots aren’t yet comfortable with the idea of O’Connell as the No. 2 quarterback, New England could always go out and get a veteran backup. The Patriots reportedly met with Patrick Ramsey earlier this year before he signed with the Titans, while Brian Griese is still available. But at this moment, O’Connell is your No. 2. Gutierrez and Hoyer will likely battle for the No. 3 spot — for more on that, click here.
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